You spent days writing a piece you expect to become the next great novel of the century. You go to retrieve your masterpiece only to find it’s gone! You knew you should have protected your work, but you never found the time. It’s a writer’s worst nightmare. Before this happens to you, take these following steps to keep your written works safe:
Save it, stupid
No, you’re not stupid, but not backing up your work on your computer is dumb. Just hitting the “save” button is not enough, either. Always save your work in at least three different places. You should save your work to your hard drive, external hard drive, or removal thumb drive. You can burn a copy of your work to a CD, too.
Some writers even admit to emailing a copy of the document to their own account to create an extra copy that cannot be stolen or erased. Google Docs or other similar programs also keep a virtual copy of your written works in cyberspace so it’s always safe.
Keep it safe
Just because you saved your work on your computer doesn’t mean your work is safe. What if an intruder comes into your home? People have their personal computers and especially laptops stolen every day. Crooks target computers because they know these devices contain highly personal and profitable information like bank accounts, credit card numbers, and even social security numbers.
Even if you have a security system in your home, you should always make sure your computer is backed up on an external hard drive. Be sure to stow the external hard drive in a locked box in your home or away from the computer so thieves will hopefully overlook the drive and leave it alone.
If you don’t have access to an external hard drive, considering saving your written works in an online system like Google Docs. This system allows you to save your work in cyberspace so that thieves can never physically get their hands on your work.
A fire can also destroy your written works. Be sure to keep hard copies and external hard drives or thumb drives in a fireproof box. It’s also a good idea not to store everything together so if disaster does strike at least one copy of your work should survive. Virtual copies are also safe from fires.
Protect with passwords
Someone could steal your work without you even knowing it. It’s easy. You leave your laptop sitting on a table and walk away. While you are gone, a not-so-friendly peer saves your work on his thumb drive and walks away before you catch him. The next thing you know, he publishes your work under his name, and all your hard work is down the drain.
Passwords and encryption software are easy to use. Always make sure your computers are password-protected. For extra protection, install encryption software on your computer and protect all your written documents. Now if a thief gets his hands on your stuff, he cannot access your work, and it will remain safe and secure.
Don’t learn the hard way
At the end of the day, none of us really believe someone wants to steal our written work. We also never believe today is the day our computer will crash or be destroyed. Don’t let your hard work become a casualty to your overconfidence. Protect your written works and sleep soundly knowing your novel of the century—or next month’s blog posts—is safely secured.
Kim Wade is a freelance writer who writes about motherhood, blogging, and protecting written works.